Friday, November 14, 2014

Devotional 7-14-14

Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help; for he (Sisera, Commander of King Jabin of Canaan’s Army) had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly twenty years.  At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel.  (Judges 4:3-4)

Expectations.  I don’t know the answer to this question, but I wonder if anyone expected that Deborah, a woman, would be a effective judge for Israel.  I wonder if Sisera would have expected it.  Judges 4 tells us that Israelites came to her for judgment.  I wonder how long it took before they could overcome their expectations and learn to listen to her.  She summons Barak to battle Sisera, and he tells her he will only do it if he comes with him.  Was that because he trusted her or because he didn’t?

What I do know is that God trusted Deborah.  God called her into service, and she listened and followed.

Too often our expectations, based on our past experiences, what we have been taught, and what society leads us to believe, can get in God’s way.  We like to believe that isn’t the case in today’s world, but it is.  Prejudice is subtle and pervasive, even among those of us who would profess to be free of it.

Every so often I serve as a team member on a Walk to Emmaus.  One of the challenges that is always offered to the pilgrims is that they refrain from anticipation.  They are asked to not let their expectations of what they think is going to happen color the unfolding of what God is planning for them during the weekend.  I offer a similar challenge to you today.  Spend some time in self-examination.  What expectations – whether based on race, gender, orientation, ethnicity, economic background, education, etc. – get between you and what God is doing in the world?  Give those expectations up to God so that God can transform them into excitement and readiness for what God offers to you through those around you.

Your expectations won’t be the only thing that is transformed.

Kim Matthews

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